Anyone who reads my blog is probably far enough along in their relationship with Italy to realize that the adjective “Italian” really doesn’t have much meaning. It’s just too broad—instead, you simply MUST mention the region, at the very least, if not the exact city when discussing any topic.
Still, to foreigners who only know a little about Italy, the word “Italian” is very nearly synonymous with “Neapolitan.” From the pizza, to the crazy traffic, to the dialect, to those famous folk songs. Even American singers crooned about the romantic charms of Naples (“Scusami, but you see, back in old Napoli, that’s amore!”).
I’ve been to Naples myself exactly four times, and I still feel like I have barely scratched the surface. And as my friend Bonnie will tell you during today’s chat, there is A LOT beneath the surface, including an entire underground city.
If by some miracle you see everything in Naples that you wanted to see, there are some incredible sites within an easy day trip, including The Palace of Caserta, which I wrote about a couple of years ago, and some volcanic fields where the Earth itself is literally on fire. Oh, and need we mention the proximity to such sites as Pompeii and The Amalfi Coast? Everything that we all love about Italy is sitting right there on that sweeping bay.
Your Unplugged Guide to Naples
Yes, Naples can also be chaotic, to say the least. It makes Rome look almost Swiss in its organization by comparison. That’s why a good guide to Naples is crucial to help you navigate and not get swallowed by the commotion.
That’s where Bonnie Alberts and her collaborators come in. She is a freelance writer and photographer with a passion for art, architecture, archaeology, and history. Living in Naples for nearly a decade, her curiosity and love of the story takes her all over the city, and she records everything she takes in with a camera and a pen.
Bonnie is the founder of the Napoli Unplugged website, and that work became the basis of the book, the Napoli Unplugged Guide to Naples. She regularly contributes articles about Naples to websites and magazines, and her photographic features can be found in Naples in 3 Days: Part 1: A Guide to Neapolitan Art and Architecture, and Tweeting Da Vinci. Today, Bonnie is busy working on the next books in this series, The Napoli Unplugged Guide to the Bay and the Amalfi Coast, and The Napoli Unplugged Guide to Campania.
Bonnie, and I had a great chat, and I admit that I learned several things about Naples that I didn’t know. Most (pleasantly) surprising of these revelations concerned the current “renaissance” happening in Napoli, from artistic metro stations, to dramatically improved garbage and recycling efforts, to a beautiful new(ish) promenade along the bay. Naples is one of the most rapidly improving cities in Italy, and it’s exciting to learn about all of these positive changes.
I would like to give a big “GRAZIE” once again to Bonnie Alberts for sharing her love of Naples with me, and for offering a free copy of her incredible guide. This book will be an indispensable resource for anyone who wants to visit Naples—and also for those who have been there, but want to deepen your understanding of this rich and complex city.
Honestly, if you don’t like Naples, you really don’t like Italy. Or if you haven’t been to Naples, then it should be at the top of your bucket list. As they say, “See Naples, and then die!”
Click the link to check out other episodes and see my list of the best podcasts about Italy.